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In addition, only a few appliances can be connected to a solar panel directly without a battery. Basically, they are DC appliances like DC bulbs, DC fans etc. These are appliances not sensitive to changes in input voltage and power (output of solar panel fluctuates due to changes in sunlight exposure). One example,12V DC bulb which can be connected to 10W 18V solar panel directly. Most other appliances will require a battery as a power source and a solar charge controller to stabilize the power.
The panels need to provide some extra voltage so that when the sun is low in the sky, or you have heavy haze, cloud cover, or high temperatures, you still get some output from the panel. A fully charged "12-volt" battery is around 12.7 volts at rest (around 13.6 to 14.4 under charge), so the panel has to put out at least that much under worst case conditions.
Obviously, the answer to this question is "Yes". We must use higher voltage solar panel to charge the battery, at the same time we also need a solar charge controller which can stabilize voltage at a certain level to avoid damaging the battery.
Some people are wondering if the battery is necessary? A grid-tie system is working without battery. The solar panels generate electricity, then feedback to the grid and reverse the reading on your net meter and cut your bill. The battery is not a necessity, but you can add battery as a backup power supply, energy can be stored via solar charge controller when you don’t want to transport the power from the solar panel to the national grid.
After you read this, you may also come out another question "why aren't panels just made to put out 12 volts". The reason is that if you do that, the panels will provide power only when cool, under perfect conditions, and full sun. This is not something you can count on in most places. The panels need to provide some extra voltage so that when the sun is low in the sky, or you have heavy haze, cloud cover, or high temperatures, you still get some output from the panel. A fully charged "12-volt" battery is around 12.7 volts at rest (around 13.6 to 14.4 under charge), so the panel has to put out at least that much under worst-case conditions.
PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation. Quite a few charge controls have a "PWM" mode. PWM is often used as one method of float charging. Instead of a steady output from the controller, it sends out a series of short charging pulses to the battery - a very rapid "on-off" switch. The controller constantly checks the state of the battery to determine how fast to send pulses, and how long (wide) the pulses will be. In a fully charged battery with no load, it may just "tick" every few seconds and send a short pulse to the battery. In a discharged battery, the pulses would be very long and almost continuous, or the controller may go into "full on" mode. The controller checks the state of charge on the battery between pulses and adjusts itself each time.
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
The power point tracker is a high-frequency DC to DC converter. They take the DC input from the solar panels, change it to high-frequency AC, and convert it back down to a different DC voltage and current to exactly match the panels to the batteries.
Maximum Power Point Tracking is electronic tracking - usually digital. The charge controller looks at the output of the panels and compares it to the battery voltage. It then figures out what is the best power that the panel can put out to charge the battery. It takes this and converts it to best voltage to get maximum AMPS into the battery. (Remember, it is Amps into the battery that counts). Most modern MPPT's are around 93-97% efficient in the conversion. You typically get a 20 to 45% power gain in winter and 10-15% in summer. Actual gain can vary widely depending weather, temperature, battery state of charge, and other factors.
MPPT solar charge controllers can also boost the charging current. For example, if the maximum current of a solar panel is 5A, a standard solar charge controller would always charge 12V leisure battery at 5A or less (depending on light), while MPPT solar charge controller would increase this current to about 6A-7A or sometimes even more.
MPPT solar controllers are more expensive than standard controllers, however for certain solar systems they are the only choice. The most common example of this is in systems where the nominal voltage of solar panels is significantly higher than the battery voltage (e.g. using a 36-60V solar panel to charge a 12V battery). In this situation an MPPT would be the only solution, because a regular solar charge controller will have very low efficiency in such systems.
When your battery remains connected to the system of your boat / vehicle, there might be some power drain from the battery, which means the efficiency of charging by solar panel may be reduced.
When you start an engine with a generator or use an external mains charger to top up your battery, then the voltage in the battery circuit will increase. As a result, the solar controller might treat this as if the battery was fully charged and cut the solar panel off temporarily. When the engine / external mains charging stops, the solar controller will resume charging by solar panel.
If you use a dual battery solar controller designed to charge 2 batteries independently, then at least 1 of them should not be connected to the system of your boat / vehicle, otherwise they will be in the same circuit and the dual battery solar controller won't work properly.
Inverters are used to operate electrical equipment from the power produced by a car or boat battery or renewable energy sources, like solar panels or wind turbines. DC power is what batteries store, while AC power is what most electrical appliances need to run so an inverter is necessary to convert the power into a usable form. When converting the DC power generated from solar panels to AC power to feed the national grid, then you will need an inverter, which we called it solar inverter. According to the function of the solar inverter, there are two general types: on-grid inverter(also called grid-tie inverter) and off-grid inverter. Check our article about on-grid inverter and off-grid inverter.
Even after over 100 years, the Lead-Acid battery is still the battery of choice for 99% of solar and backup power systems. With the better availability during the last few years of the new AGM batteries and the true deep-cycle batteries, we feel that there is little reason to use any other type.
Standard batteries are usually used as a starting battery for motorhomes or boats because they can supply a high influx of cranking amps quickly and are less expensive.
Completely draining a battery might permanently reduce the total capacity. Some batteries (such as deep cycle) can tolerate this better, but it is still not healthy for them. Our advice is not to discharge your battery excessively and to recharge it as soon as possible, not leaving it discharged for a long time.